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May 1, 2002

Discovery Channel Kicks Off Summer With Big Thrills

New York, NY -- What better way to kickoff summer than to experience the best rides that amusement parks have to offer? All without waiting in a single line! Over the past year, the Discovery Channel has scoured the country filming the newest, coolest and most extreme amusement park rides. These modern marvels will appear together in the networks' sixth annual Memorial Day programming event, THRILLS, CHILLS AND SPILLS.

This year's THRILLS, CHILLS AND SPILLS line-up includes the world premiere of Top Ten Coasters 2002, Extreme Rides 2002 and Ultimate Guide: Roller Coasters (airs from 8:00-11:00 PM ET/PT). Using state-of-the-art specialized cameras, including lipstick-size "coaster cams" and custom audio mounts, THRILLS, CHILLS AND SPILLS offers viewers the next best thing to actually strapping into one of these intense rides. Each program includes interviews with ride designers, engineers, park owners and enthusiasts who explain and explore the popularity of these mind-blowing, stomach-churning rides.

Top 10 Coasters 2002, which premieres at 8:00 p.m. (ET/PT), features the "Top Five" steel and the "Top Five" wooden roller coasters according to an online interactive survey of the Discovery Channel's viewers. Over the past year, the viewers most favorite roller coasters were filmed including:

Top 5 Steel Roller Coasters

  1. Incredible Hulk, Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando
  2. (tie) Millennium Force, Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH
  3. (tie) Goliath, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, CA
  4. Nitro, Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, NJ
  5. Magnum XL-200, Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH

Top 5 Wooden Roller Coasters

  1. The Beast, Paramount's King Island, Kings Island, OH
  2. Son of Beast, Paramount's King Island, Kings Island, OH
  3. Thunderbolt, Kennywood, West Mifflin, PA
  4. GhostRider, Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA
  5. The Raven, Holiday World, Santa Claus, Indiana

Extreme Rides 2002, which premieres at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT), takes viewers aboard some of the newest attractions that stir riders' stomachs, bones and brains. This show allows viewers to explore the technology necessary to make these 21st century wonders possible and experience them from the comfort of home. Featured among the revolutionary roller coasters is the "X" at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA. Unlike any other ride in the world, it takes people along the 3,610-foot track, as riders spin independently 360-degrees forwards or backwards on a separate axis – creating an unprecedented "don't know what to expect next" sensation. Another extreme ride featured is Batwing – the first "flying" coaster on the East Coast. Batwing, at Six Flags America in Mitchelleville, MD, suspends riders below the roller coaster track, allowing them to fly headfirst through eight sweeping inversions at over 50 miles per hour.

Extreme Rides 2002 also chronicles the daring but highly-successful plan to refashion Pittsburgh's cherished Kennywood classic, Steel Phantom, into a new ride called Phantom's Revenge; a 200-foot free-fall drop ride at Six Flags Over Georgia called Acrophobia; and the extreme engineering of GhostRider, a wooden coaster at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA, which had to be earthquake-proof when built.

Ultimate Guide: Roller Coasters, which premieres at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT) explores the science of roller coasters – everything from the physics and engineering of design concepts to the effect riding roller coasters can have on human heart rates, nervous systems and the brain. This program examines why one person's pleasure is another person's pain and how the enjoyment one has for something at a particular stage of their life becomes unpleasant or intolerable at another stage. Viewers will be able to "ride" some of the world's best roller coasters, and learn answers to age-old questions like where is the "best" place to sit on a coaster is? How does rain and weather affect a roller coaster experience? And what safety measures are in place for riding roller coasters?

Ultimate Guide: Roller Coasters is sponsored by Pfizer Pharmaceutical, Lowe's, MasterCard and Acura. All three premieres of THRILLS, CHILLS AND SPILLS are produced by Termite Art Productions; Erik Nelson is executive producer, Kiku Lani Iwata is producer. For the Discovery Channel, Suzy Geller Wolf is executive producer and Clark Bunting is executive in charge of production.